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The long white road

The last poem written by Roland Leighton was delivered to his fiancé, Vera Brittain, along with his blood-stained uniform. It may have celebrated a walk the two lovers made along Old Goyt’s Lane.

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Long Hill mystery

Don asks about the foundations which lie just over the fence, coming down from the Long Hill road towards the Goyt Valley. I wonder whether it may once have been a toll house. But who knows?

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Happy memories

A long-time lover of the valley, Elaine writes to ask about a photograph of the Gunpowder Mill band. She wonders whether the mill was related to the Chilwell Gunpowder Mill in Nottingham.

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Wrong again!

Another of my theories bites the dust! I was sure the brick pillar that surfaced during this summer must have been one of the supports for the suspension bridge. But it appears not.

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Hidden features revealed

The record-breaking temperatures during the summer of 2018 saw the water levels drop significantly in both reservoirs. These photos show some of the features that will soon vanish once again.

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Fernilee from the air (1934)

A 1934 aerial view of the Fernilee Reservoir construction site reveals some fascinating detail, including the ruins of the Gunpowder Mill, as well as the line of the old Cromford & High Peak Railway.

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Tracing the mill lade

Walking the lade from Goytsclough to the Goyt was the only way I was going to work out how water seemed to defy gravity to feed the giant waterwheel. It seems appearances can be very deceptive!

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Goytsclough waterwheel (1857)

A newspaper article from 1857 includes some wonderful detail about the paint mill at Goytsclough. But also disproves most of my assumptions about the giant waterwheel which once stood here!

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Goytsclough waterwheel

Was there once a giant waterwheel at Goytsclough that was reputed to be the second largest in the world? It seems more than a little unlikely, but I’m trying to discover the facts.

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Three new views

Three recently-discovered postcards dating back over a century show the wonderfully picturesque hamlet of Goyt’s Bridge before it vanished below the waters of Errwood Reservoir.

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Goyt Valley Story #1

The first chapter of Clifford Rathbone’s ‘Goyt Valley Story’ describes a walk he made in the summer of 1955 from the Cat & Fiddle to Goyt’s Bridge, before the flooding of Errwood Reservoir.

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Hearts of oak

“One by one the farmers and their families have strapped their ancient bedsteads on to hay wagons, and tracked off up the lane leading out from Derbyshire’s deceased village of Fernilee…”

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Visiting the Cat & Fiddle (1888)

“A carriage from Buxton passes us just before we reach the Cat and Fiddle. Its inmates, although covered with shawls and rugs, are shivering with cold. (The date is the 4th of May, 1888.)”

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John & Hannah Butler

Captain John Butler has always fascinated me. He was the Master of the Grimshawe’s ocean-going yacht, The Mariquita, and is buried in the hill-top cemetery above the ruins of Errwood Hall.

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Fernilee west walk video

Hot on the heels of the video for walk 17 comes the one for walk 18; a very easy 2.5 mile circular walk around the west of Fernilee Reservoir. There are some wonderful views from the upper section.

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Foxlow Edge walk video

I’ve just added the video for walk 17: a short, 1.5 mile circular stroll along Foxlow Edge, returning along the narrow footpath which runs between the ruins of Errwood Hall and St. Joseph’s Shrine.

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Castedge spring; then & now

A new ‘then and now’ fade features one of my favourite photos of the Goyt Valley; Kathleen Nall collecting water at the natural spring outside her family home, Castedge Farm Cottage.

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New valley panorama

A newly-dicovered photo across the Goyt Valley dating back to the 1920s reveals some fascinating detail – Errwood Hall in the far distance and a possible ice cream kiosk beside Errwood Bridge.

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Discovered; a lovers’ walk

In 1880 a writer described “a footpath high above the carriage-way… a lovers’ walk; a deep-green wooded way made for Phillida and Corydon”. My thanks to James for pointing me in the right direction.

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Goyt’s Moss Marchingtons

Rob has been in touch to say his family once lived at Goyt’s Moss, scraping a living mining coal from the small pits which once littered the landscape of this windswept part of the upper Goyt Valley.

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Anyone seen a puma?

Alan asks whether anyone has seen a puma in the Valley. I seem to remember someone saying they’d seen one a few years back. I think it was more likely to be a large feral cat. But who knows?

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A birds’ eye view

Top of my Santa wish-list is a drone to capture the Valley from the air. But I’m not confident about persuading my good lady wife that it’s worth the hefty price tag. Wish me luck!

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Goyt’s Bridge video

It’s taken a while, but I’ve finally managed to complete a short, 12 minute video showing how the twin reservoirs completely changed the landscape of this part of the Goyt Valley.

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ITV visits the valley

My fleeting moment of fame! A couple of minutes on ITV’s Calendar programme chatting about the history of the Goyt Valley. But I can’t see me making a career of it!

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